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How Does Laser Work On Toenail Fungus

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Laser for Toenail Fungus: Does it really work? By Seattle Podiatrist Larry Huppin

While experts agree that exercise is one of the most beneficial activities a person can do to improve one’s overall health, dermatologists want gym-goers to be aware of the hidden dangers of exercise-bothersome skin conditions that can be painful and inhibit further physical activity if left untreated.

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Is There Any Medical Evidence Suggesting That Laser Treatments Actually Work For Fungal Infections In Toenails

Asked by Deb 2229 votes

A

Laser treatments for nail fungus have become fairly common since the procedure was approved by the Food and Drug Administration four years ago. Several kinds of laser therapies are now available, but there is limited evidence that the treatments work.

The appeal of lasers is that they selectively heat and destroy harmful fungi while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. And some small studies and lab tests suggest they can kill the fungi and cure the condition.

But in one of the best studies to date, published last year in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that laser treatments produced no improvements in patients with toenail fungus, even after five sessions.

The procedures are generally not covered by insurance, and a course of treatment typically involves multiple sessions, each costing hundreds of dollars, said Dr. Andrea Bershow, the director of the nail procedure clinic at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

I think we want it to work, but the evidence just isnt quite there yet, said Dr. Bershow, who that reviewed current research. The studies that have shown efficacy have been small, they havent been randomized controlled trials, and most of them have been funded by the actual laser companies themselves.

Dr. Bershow is frequently asked about laser treatments, but she never recommends them.

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How Does Toenail Fungus Look Like

Diagnosing toenail fungus is not that hard. The change is visual and very obvious. To make matters even worse, the toenails will gradually deteriorate as the infestation continues. The fungus has the habit of infesting the surrounding tissue, so don’t be surprised if it starts appearing on other toenails.

Toenails will hate white, yellow, or brown discoloration, and there will be some flaky debris on or under the toenail. At one point, the whole toenail may come off. The affected area will become thicker, and its texture will change. This can also be followed by a change of shape.

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How Do I Know If I Have Toenail Fungus

A toenail fungal infection has a slow, eroding effect on your toenail but usually takes a while to develop and spread so you might not notice it at first.

Here are some of the toenail symptoms you may encounter:

  • Change in color often the toenail turns yellow, brown, white, or eve green
  • Nails become thicksometimes so thick you cant get a toenail clipper to work
  • Toenail shape becomes curved, twisted, or ingrown on the sides
  • Initially, a white dot may show itself which then slowly grows larger
  • Toenails become brittle and break easily, sometimes they seem to crumble or get chalky
  • Toenails become flaky and break off
  • Sometimes the toenail has a “cottage-cheese” type substance especially under the hard-outer shell
  • Toenails may loosen and separate off the nail bed occasionally they may even fall of entirely
  • You get pain around the toenail as the hard, curved nail digs down into the sides
  • There is a bad-cheese smell coming from your toenails
  • Eventually, the fungus spreads to your other toes and even out onto the skin on your feet

If left untreated, you can develop a secondary bacterial infection and even get ulcerations, which are extremely dangerous if you are diabetic or have poor circulation. For some people, toenail fungus has even ultimately led to the surgical amputation of toes or even leg amputations.

What Is Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment

Laser Toenail Fungus Removal: What It Is and How It Works ...

Lasers have been used to treat medical conditions since way back in the 1960s, but its only in the last few years that lasers have been used as a treatment for toenail fungus.

Its a pain free, non-invasive treatment without any worrying side effects, and can either be performed by a podiatrist in a clinic or thanks to new technology- in the comfort of your own home.

And it kills toenail fungus within a matter of minutes.

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Laser Therapy For Nail Fungus Is Expensive Elective And Cosmetic

Another detriment of nail fungus laser therapy is cost. The expense is usually not covered by insurance because toenail fungus is deemed a cosmetic issue, not a serious health matter. Treatment is elective and based more on the appearance of the feet than an actual health threat. The cosmetic side of nail fungus is perturbing to those who have it. Symptoms of nail fungus include distortion of the nail surface, including a brittle or ridged appearance, discoloration of the nail surface and brittle-looking or crumbling nails. But it is rarely a dangerous condition.

Until laser therapy passes more randomized, controlled, clinical tests elderly patients may wish to forego the expense. Although laser therapy for nail fungus may be the wave of the future, at this time it has not proven effective. Scientists recommend traditional treatments as they have proven to be more effective.

Becker, C., Bershow, A. . Lasers and photodynamic therapy in the treatment of onychomycosis-a review of the literature. Dermatology Online Journal, 19: 19611. Available online at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0js6z1kw. Accessed March 10, 2017.

Carney, C., Cantrell, W., Warner, J., Elewski, B. . Treatment of onychomycosis using a submillisecond 1064-nm neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 69: 578-582. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2013.04.054.

Why Is Laser Therapy Better Than Other Therapies

Among other reasons, laser therapy is better than other therapies because it is safe. It doesnt have any of the side effects that come with the antifungals. It also doesnt have the drug interactions that the oral antifungals can have.

Its a great option for people that are taking the drugs that interact with the orals or that cant tolerate the side effects.

The treatment is pain-free and easy. Expect to spend 12 minutes on treating each of your feet once you arrive in our office.

And the best perk of all is that the laser can get in through your nail to where that fungus is hiding and get rid of it quickly.

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Cherrish Rechargeable Nail Fungus Laser Treatment Device For Onychomycosis Cure Highly Effective

This is another fantastic fungal toenail treatment device. It can be used at home with the help of a trained professional hence saving you money used as a clinic fee. It gives fast and effective results within a short period. It is straightforward to use, and all one is required to do is place the affected nail on the device and then switch on the device.

After the required seven minutes are over, the device automatically switches itself off. It has a compact design therefore, it can be carried around, enabling you to treat the affected nail anywhere at any time.

It offers extreme flexibility due to its rechargeable batteries that last long.

  • It is straightforward to use.
  • It is portable.

What Are The Problems With Oral Remedies For Toenail Fungus

How does laser treatment of Toenail Fungus work?

The side effects take center stage. They include headache, nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes serious systemic reactions. Some of those side effects are so potentially hazardous that constant monitoring of liver function is required.

Another drawback of ointments and oral remedies for toenail fungus is the extended duration of treatment. Toenails grow slowly. The nail on a big toe can take well over a year to completely replace itself. So the traditional remedies must be administered for a correspondingly lengthy time period.

Even after a successful treatment, fungal colonies often reestablish themselves.

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How Can I Be Sure I Have Toenail Fungus

Hands down, the best way to determine if you have toenail fungus is to get a nail culture done by a podiatrist. If you see any of the signs Ive mentioned, just make an appointment for an evaluation. Because the infection eventually spreads to every toe, it is better to get cracking and treat it early before bigger problems come around. With toenail fungus, its either treat it and fight it away, or dont treat it and let it get worse. Sounds simple, right? Well, the choice is up to you

Early detection also improves the chances for the treatment to work more effectively and quickly before the infection spreads. Also, this early nail culture will set a baseline so that, after treatment with the laser I often take another nail culture to determine the effectiveness of the laser. There are different components to the fungal culture, and your podiatrist is the best person to discuss the results with you. Most importantly, the laser is over 90% effective for just about every type of fungus out there.

How Effective Is Laser Toenail Fungus Treatment

Laser toenail fungus treatment is considered a highly effective way to eliminate these infections and restore healthy nail growth. Some topical treatments for toenail fungus only treat the fungus on the surface of the nail without reaching through it to the organisms that cause it to grow. The laser light beams used in laser toenail fungus treatment are able to penetrate the nail for more effective treatment.

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Is The Laser Treatment A Good Idea

There is a wide spectrum of treatment options for fungal toenail infection among which the laser toenail fungus removal treatment is the best.

The laser toenail fungus removal is a better option for you if you really care to have a clean and beautiful foot. Even though the fungal infection of the toenail is not so painful it is cosmetically disfiguring with yellowish and ugly looking nails. The laser toenail fungus removal is simple procedures where the laser beams are directed or focused over the infected nail and kill the pathogens responsible for the infection.

The laser toenail fungus removal is the treatment of choice if you wish to get your nail cured and get a new nail within a few days of treatment. The laser toenail fungus removal is a short and effective procedure.

The laser toenail fungus removal takes hardly 10 minutes per sitting. The number of sittings is decided according to the severity of the infection. If the infection is mild then you may need only 1 or 2 sittings whereas if the infection is severe it may be 5-6 sittings.

The laser toenail fungus removal is a painless procedure. The infrared laser beam is directly focused on the infected area leaving the underlying healthy tissue intact. Hence there is no pain in laser toenail fungus removal.

Can My Fungal Nail Infection Come Back

Toenail Laser Treatment in North Texas

It can. Just like how you can stub your toe multiple times on different occasions, you may contract fungal nail infections on different occasions and from different places, too. As part of your care, we will discuss with you the best ways to keep your home environment free from fungus to limit your risk of reinfection from places like your shoes, socks and shower at home.

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Toenail Fungus Home Care

Sometimes it√Ęs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:

  • Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
  • Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.

Laser Therapy For Fungal Toenails

Now, by many requests from patients, WE HAVE ACQUIRED THE FDA APPROVED LASER THE HYPERBLUE 1530 SYSTEM. This is approved for temporary clearing of fungus of the nail. The laser light penetrates through the nail and soft tissue to both kill fungus in its path, and promotes new nail growth. Once the living fungus is zapped by the laser, healthy nails begin to grow from the cuticle of the nail. This utilizes infrared radiation which is not painful and it is safe to gently heat the base of the nail. This area of the nail is where the fungus survives.

This system eradicates the fungus. It will require repeat visits for treatment over a 3 month period. The treatment is typically 5-15 minutes, spaced 30 days apart for 3 months. As the nail grows slowly, it can take approximately 6-12 months for the new nail to replace the old infected nail. It is VERY EFFECTIVE.

Clinical studies show that the laser kills toenail fungus and promotes clear nail growth with a single treatment in better than 80% of cases. The laser treatment is safe, effective, and most patients improve usually after their first treatment.

There are several advantages of applying laser treatment to toenail fungus. They are:

  • Safe, painless treatment

  • No side effects or drugs

  • No liver enzyme test required

  • No recovery time – just walk in and walk out

  • Only 15 minutes required to treat the toenail fungus on both feet, if all 10 nails are being treated.

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Laser Treatment For Toenail Fungus: Cost

There is a huge difference in price between laser treatment by a professional in a clinic and the price to buy a laser device for home use.

The cost varies depending on the number of nails involved and severity of the infection, with the national average cost for laser treatment varying from anywhere between $500 to $1200, which wont be covered by medical insurance as it is considered a cosmetic treatment.

That said, most professional laser toenail fungus treatment is effective after just one session.

Laser devices for toenail fungus treatment at home cost roughly $150 to $300 significantly less than a clinical laser treatment but they are less effective and it may take daily sessions over a period of 3 to 6 months to successfully eradicate all traces of fungus and spores.

Of course, the big positive is that at the end of the home treatment you will be able to reuse the DIY laser at any time should the fungus reappear, and it can also be used by family members or friends.

Pros Of Laser For Toenail Fungus Treatment:

How Does Laser Work On Toenail Fungus – Split Toenail Fungus
  • Safe, painless treatment, so anesthesia is not required.
  • No recovery time, walk-in, and walkout.
  • The procedure usually requires only 15 minutes on both feet if all 10 nails are to be treated.
  • No side effects of drugs are required.
  • No liver enzyme tests are required.
  • It is 85% 90% effective.
  • One laser treatment session is enough to eliminate the infection in 90% of cases. The remaining 10% may need 2 or 3 more sessions.
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    Is Laser Nail Fungus Treatment Effective

    Before you schedule an appointment, your first question may be, is laser nail fungus treatment effective? Clinical studies show support for this treatments efficacy, and toenail laser treatments are approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. Looking at the clinical trial data/facts, laser nail fungus treatment is effective.

    • A 2016 study by the FDA found that patients who received laser foot treatment displayed clear nails at three months and six months after treatment.
    • A 2019 study published in the journal American Family Physician by the American Association of Family Physicians found that after 180 days of toenail fungus laser treatment, patients had a 30% cure rate and a 91% improvement in symptoms. The AAFP study also concluded that laser treatment is more effective for fungus removal than both over-the-counter and prescription topical and oral antifungal medications.
    • In 2018, the journal Lasers in Medical Science published a study about the efficacy of laser treatment for fungus removal. These researchers reported a success rate of 83.7% among the patient population, who had infections that affected at least two-thirds of the nail.

    Does Laser Therapy Really Work For Toenail Fungus

    Toenail fungus is the leading cause of nail disease in adults with up to 14% of the North American population being affected . It often results in the nails becoming thickened, discolored, misshapen, and brittle, and although the fungus itself is not harmful to the body systemically, it can cause added pressure to surrounding skin of the involved toes. There is also a social component to having nail fungus, which can make people feel embarrassed when their toenails are visible.

    How does laser therapy work?

    Laser therapy uses light energy to inhibit fungal growth by heating and destroying the tissue that gets absorbed it . The FDA has now approved multiple different lasers for the treatment and temporary clearance of the nail plate . But how successful is laser therapy for toenail fungus?

    Defining & determining success with laser therapy for nail fungus

    Based on my limited and quick research for this blog, I found success rates for laser therapy in patients with nail fungus to range anywhere from 14%-100% . That range may be so extreme because it is difficult to determine the overall effectiveness when there are so many different variables being evaluated in these studies, including the specific laser used, the frequency of treatments, the severity of the nail fungus, and the follow-up time period. Having a limited number of participants , can also easily affect these outcomes. Lastly, the definition of success to a physician may also be different from a patient.

    Summary

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